Nowadays, almost everyone is dealing with stress and anxiety. Many people experience anxiety and panic attacks, they can be frightening and can hinder daily life and activities. It’s always best to seek expert medical advice first, but Yoga can be a good tool to help many through anxiety.
Many are looking for ways to release tension and ease the symptoms of panic disorder or anxiety disorder, which triggers the fight or flight response and puts the mind and body under extreme stress.
Experiencing a panic attack can be stressful and emotionally hard, which is why many people wonder whether the benefits of Yoga can ease stress and anxiety and whether practicing Yoga regularly can ease stress and help with panic disorder and anxiety disorder.
After all, have you ever wondered why all Yoga teachers are always so calm and serene (haha not always true).
We believe that using Yoga for anxiety is more than a good idea! Practising Yoga comes with many benefits. Yoga can relieve anxiety, it helps in reducing stress, helps to calm the mind and to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system.
The simple act of moving with your breath, or even sitting in meditation can help to ease worrying, negative and repetitive thought patterns.
Yoga Poses That Can Ease Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The thing is, if you’re going through a panic attack, the last thing you’re going to think is, oh hang on, let me just do a down dog! Really, Yoga is more of a preventative tool.
Every Yoga session and Yoga class is, in general, very calming. However, certain Yoga poses have been shown to improve your mental health and help to relieve stress.
As always, it’s important to seek professional medical help if you are struggling mentally or physically. Whether that’s a psychologist or physiotherapist.
But if you suffer from mild anxiety and every day stress, then these poses might be a good idea to add to your next Yoga flow!
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Legs up the wall, otherwise known as supported shoulder stand, or in Sanskrit Viparita Karani is a restorative Yoga pose.
There are many benefits from this pose, the most impressive would be the way it improves both blood circulation as well as lymphatic drainage.
This is because your legs usually spend all day beneath the heart, now they are above the heart and gravity is helping to send the blood down the legs.
Holding here for 5 minutes, breathing in and out through your nose will also help alleviate anxiety and stress. The simple notion of breathing through your nose, switches on the parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest system.
This pose also alleviates tired legs, or restless legs, by providing a gentle stretch for the hamstrings and compression at the hip crease.
Let’s set it up…
- You, the yogi, will sit close to a wall, preferably on a bolster (Yoga support cushion) or firm cushion.
- Carefully lay down on your side and then shimmy so you can send your legs up the wall, with your tail bone elevated on the bolster. Your bottom should be as close to the wall as possible.
- Stay here for 5-7 minutes, breathing deeply in and out through your nose, let your hands rest on your lower belly.
This pose can be held for anywhere between 10 breaths and 10 minutes. It is a restorative pose that can be done every day. This pose alone has been shown to help alleviate anxiety symptoms.
The camel pose, or Ustrasana, can help in releasing stress and improving blood circulation in the whole body. Improved blood circulation will translate to a better supply of oxygen to every single cell of your body, which can help keep your mind and body in a healthy state.
It’s important to note that you should warm up before this pose.
Here’s how to perform a Camel Pose:
- Kneel on the mat, with your knees hip-width apart and the tops of your feet on the mat.
- Place your fingertips at the spine’s base. Then, support your lower back with your hands by covering your sacrum with your palms.
- Inhale and bend backward, expanding up and open through the sternum, looking as high as you can without being uncomfortable.
- If you can, reach for your heels with your hands (this is a challenge option).
- Take deep breaths while staying in this position and return to the starting position.
The Bridge Pose, or Setu Bandhasana, is a Yoga pose that can improve blood circulation, just like the Camel Pose. In addition, the Bridge Pose opens up the spine and heart, which can further help in reducing stress and anxiety.
Here is how to perform the Bridge Pose:
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, your feet parallel and about hip-distance apart away from each other.
- Your hands are along your sides, your fingertips should just be able to scrape your heels.
- Press your feet and hands firmly into the mat under you.
- Take a deep breath in as you lift your hips toward the ceiling. Push your tailbone toward your pubic bone while keeping your buttocks off the floor.
- Roll your shoulders back and under your body, and interlace your hands, this will allow you to lift more.
- To finish, exhale, release your hands, and lower your torso and booty back to the floor or your yoga mat, returning to a neutral state.
Butterfly Pose, or Badda Konasana, is a simple Yoga posture that can stretch your inner thighs and release tension, which can have a calming effect on your body and mind.
Here’s how to do a Butterfly Pose:
- Start in a seated position, with your knees bent, and the soles of your feet pressed together.
- Interlace your fingers around the outer side of your feet (near your pinkie-toe) or place your hands on your shins or ankles, whichever feels the most comfortable for you.
- Draw your shoulders down and back and lengthen your spine.
- Stay in this position as long as you can up to five minutes, all while taking deep breaths.
- If you like you can lean forward toward your feet.
Really the best way to explain how Yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety is to try out a class.
As we already mentioned, when you are going through any issues, whether within the body or mind it’s always important to seek medical help from the appropriate practitioner. It’s never a weakness to seek help, it’s strength, it’s courage.
Within our Online Pilates and Yoga Studio we do things differently, in that we link the movement with mindset work of self-acceptance, self-belief and joy. So yes, the studies do show that with a Yoga practice, levels of anxiety and stress reduce, add in a self-accepting intention and WOW.
Our members say that this is an absolute game changer as it gives them time to not just exercise for physical health but to also work on building a strong mindset. Just like Merrybody Member, Leisa…
“There’s a saying that goes along the lines of if you spend money on things you’ll have things but if you spend on experiences you’ll have higher levels of positive emotion! Don’t quote me 😁.
The point is this is a joyful, fun filled, self honouring journey – bringing out the ‘amazing’ in every single one of us. It is Online and Emma and Carla make it so ‘real’ I often find myself with a huge smile, waving goodbye from the living room floor at the end of a class.
The experience has helped me with flexibility, functional movement, self belief and confidence. I can do things, with the Merry Sisters’ guidance that I previously thought unachievable. The app awesomely makes all of this possible – it’s more than just an app though, it’s a shared experience.
Do yourself a favour and give one of the trials a go.”
We really do feel honoured that so many people choose MerryBody as their way to move. As Leisa, said, it really is so much more than an App… it’s a family.
If you’re ready to try out classes, why not try out our Free 5 Day Program here.
Emma + Carla